Directory:Iron Chef/Episode 25 - Giant Lobster
Iron Chef Episode 25 - Giant [[Recipe Ingredient:=lobster|Lobster]]
(Note: This is one of the few battles that had extraneous info in the file title. This should have been down at about 50. Bleah. But still, a tasty battle)
Iron Chef Italian Masahiko Kobe versus Makoto Osada
Hmm. This is interesting. We've picked up one of the few battles with "the forgotten" Iron Chef. You see, once the show became popular in Japan, they decided they needed a fourth Iron Chef to round out the cooking style, and they chose Masahiko Kobe, who was a mere culinary apprentice (not yet a full chef) who was training in Italy at the time. So it's rather rags to riches here already.)
Also, the set designers had already built Kitchen Stadium, and there was just no ROOM for a fourth pedastal where the other Iron Chefs were.They turned it into a feature. They disregarded the "picking an opponent" part for battles in which Iron Chef Italian would be taking part, and built a fourth platform off on the side, for Kobe. His entrances were always even more flamboyant then the other Iron Chefs, as he had his own group of violinists playing as his platform rose.
As they set the story for today's battle.. here's the funny part, there are episodes where Chairman Kaga is subtitled, and there are episodes where he is translated. This happens to be one where both. Dubbed and Subbed. Also, while I'm making notes on our erstwhile chairman, I find it hilarious that they show him trying what is supposed to be a dish from the challenger's style of cuisine, and the reactions he has after eating them is funny (it almost looks like he's ahem.. reaching climax). Just once, JUST ONCE, I want to see Chairman Kaga try a dish, and spit out. Is that too much to ask?
Today's challenger is from one of the premier Tokyo-Style chinese cuisine restuaraunts Nangoku-shuka in Akaska (1,005 seats!). Head Chef Makoto Osada.
They spend some time bringing up the challenger's background, became an apprentice at age 20. Spent his whole career (24 years at the time of the battle),eventually rising to the job of head chef. Kinda funny statement, he states that he wishes to "maintain the great traditional flavors and style of his resturaunt". (Anyone ever known a chef to spend twenty four years rising to head a massive resturaunt, then spontaneously decide, "Hey. This food we've been cooking for the past quarter of a century? It's crap! I think we need to go Polynesian instead!"? Me Neither.)
He is lauded, however, for using fruit to enhance his traditional dinners, bringing them to new heights.
Uh oh.. is it about that time? Secure the peppers.. I SAID SECURE THE.. Damn. Kaga's already there. Another pepper falls to Kaga's unholy appetites! Cue the legion of sous chefs. Cue the triumpant music! Cue The Logo.. and.. Cue the Commercial!
They bring in the challenger, and all of Osada's predecessors and co-workers are attending the battle. Just a light note that if you really screw up, your co-workers and predecessors will take you behind Kitchen Stadium and remonstrate with you about how you've made a resturaunt with 40 years of history look bad on national Japanese television (and eventually over in America and Australia as well). No pressure, mind you.
Time to summon the Iron Chef Italian. Complete with six violinists.
It's time to unveil the secret ingredient.. and it's 30 year old Giant Lobsters! Kobe's screwed. I can think of many Chinese dishes that require Lobsters to work properly. Can you come up with many Lobster dishes for Italian cuisine?
Today's Theme Ingredient: 12 Giant (estimated at the age of 30 years old) Lobsters fished off the seas of Tazmania, Australia. They went for about $400 each!
Talk about opposites in demeanor. Osada is calm, spending about 10 seconds discussing issues with his sous-chefs before heading up to get some of the theme ingredient. Kobe, who has the nickname the Prince of Pasta, SPRINTS up to the platform to get his hands on as many of the choice Lobsters as he can.
(as an aside:It's now the part that will make your friendly neighborhood vegan turn green, and your local society of prevention of cruelty to animals think of rioting.. yes, these lobsters are still alive, and it's time to start preparing them (and by preparing, I mean cutting them open with giant knives, hacking off their limbs, etcetera. It's almost enough for me to turn vegetarian. I said almost there, because by the end of the battle, I'll probably be ready to head over to Australia, grab them out of the sea, and start devouring them raw.)
These are so big compared to normal lobsters, that the chefs are having trouble getting the useable parts out of them because their shells are so tough. Both chefs are very happy with the quality of these lobsters, apparently they're better then even the ones you get at top resturaunts. (Well, I guess at $400 each, they should be super high quality!)
Commentators for this battle, along with "Doc" Hattori and Fuyuki-San are Tsurutaro Kataoka, an actor, and Naomi Hosokawa an actress
Both chefs sticking to their respective styles, Osada with a lot of Chinese style sauces and Kobe with more European style (including his trademark hand made pasta)
They hold one of the Giant Lobsters at the commentators booth to show you how large it is. The body of the one they show is about the size of Doc Hattori's HEAD (and there's a long tail) and apparently this was just one of the average sized ones.
Kobe is putting together a dish that boggles the mind. Ham on the outside, Boiled Lobster, a paste of mixed herbs and spices in paste form with minced prawns, wrapped in a fat netting to provide body. That's right folks, you give an Italian chef $400 lobster, and he'll make a sausage out of it.
The challenger has already completed a sweet-and-sour lobster dinner already, only 30 minutes into the hour long cooking side.
You can tell how well the chefs have judged their preperation by seeing how they act in the last few minutes. Both chefs seem to be setting up well, except Kobe holds off on boiling and frying the Italian style noodles till the last minutes.
And now the post cooking, pre judging interviews.
When asked how it turned out, the challenger says "Um, well, uh, I did my very best for the day." and he doesn't sound too confident. Kobe admits that he's never even worked with Lobster before today.
The Challenger offers four dishes.
Lobster & Shark Fin Soup: A reimagining of one of Nangoku-shuka's famous dishes, Shark Fin and Crab Brain soup (It looks VERY exotic, a VERY thick soup.)
Sweet & Sour Lobster: Imagine high level Sweet & Sour Pork, like that you would find at a top notch Chinese cuisine resturaunt. Then add lobster to it. I have to admit, it's a powerful looking, luxurious Chinese dish.
Steamed Lobster Salad: Another high class "salad" item, providing a little of a lot of different items, including very thin small chunks of mushroom for texture.
Lettuce in Twice-Fried Rice with Hot&Sour Lobster Soup: Looks absolutely mouth watering. This is based off a more classical soup, and before making the fried rice, he mixed eggs and lobster meat with the Rice to keep it fluffy and non-sticky, and it's not greasy at all (since he fried it in nothing but the moisture from the eggs)
The Iron Chef also offers four dishes:
Lobster Hors D'oeuvure, Three Flavors: Featuring a Lobster cracker, a marinated lobster in a mini-tomato topped with a bit of caviar. The third part is a Lobster Tartare sandwich, all bite sized and looking very good.
Lobster Carapaccio, in Bouillabaise Sauce. Another beautiful looking dish, very European in presentation.
Lobster Brain Carbonara: This is the noodles that he boiled and fried at the last minute, in a VERY luxurious sauce.
Finally, the Lobster Sausage: Served with a curry based, sauce, and fried up nicely in the fat netting, it is exactly the dish I'd want, but could never ever afford. Who would think of making this all together?
On the judging panel today are: Photographer Tenmei Kanoh, actor Tsurutaro Kataoka, actress Naomi Hosokawa and fortune teller (kinda like Miss Cleo but infinitely more classy) Kazuko Hosoki. No Kishi today, so the challenger might have a chance.
The challenger (as always on Iron Chef's Japanese version) goes first.
The Shark Fin soup is first, and gets some pretty good reviews, thanks to it's aroma and taste.
Sweet and Sour Lobster next. Again, praise, and they like the matching of the sweetness of the fruit and the lobster meat, although one reviewer (Kataoka) would have liked to see the Lobster meat more accentuated.
The Salad: again meets with the approval of the panel, and Hosoki, praises everything, saying she's never had Chinese food this good.
Rice and Soup: "Eating this is quite a pleasure". Not a negative comment to be found.
Next up is Iron Chef KObe's dishes.
Again, he says he's surprised about the size of the lobsters and he was worried about how sophisticated they would taste (Not smart, even if you've never been there before, act like you have been)
Up first is the Carapaccio in the Bouillabaise sauce. Gets good comments, the sauce seems to be enhancing the taste of the raw lobster, and they like the texture as well.
Lobster Brain Carbonara next, some worries about the overpowering nature of the black pepper, but it was well-received.
The Giant Lobster sausage is next, and we all hold our breath. They seem to like the balance of the dish between the different textures and tastes (the saltyness and crispness of the ham on the outside, the firmness of the boiled lobster inside). They love the imagination that it comes to take this.
No word on the Hors d'oeuvre.. they probably didn't show any comments because it was a rather simplistic dish (for haute cuisine), and nothing special.
And here come the judges, time for the result.
And the winner is... Iron Chef Masahiko Kobe!
Have to admit a bit surprise from that..
Let's go to the scorecard
Kanoh: 19-15 Iron Chef Hosokawa: 20-19 Iron Chef Kataoka: 20-19 Iron Chef Hosoki: 19-15 Iron Chef
(78-68, 4-0 on judges)
I get the impression from the voiceovers that while Osada's dishes were good, they weren't INNOVATIVE, and that's why the verdict went to Kobe. The Giant Lobster Sausage was innovative!
Cue the credits, we are out!